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Jan 25, 2013 05:00 AM EST

NGO Committed To Increase Percentage of American Students in China

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The U.S. State Department launched the '100, 000 Strong Initiative' in 2010, which was aimed at sending 100, 000 American students to study in China over four years. This initiative now embarks on a new journey as an independent non-governmental organization - "100, 000 Strong Foundation" - and plans on accomplishing the goal by 2014.

In return, the Chinese government has announced 10,000 Bridge Scholarships for American students to study in China.

The foundation is also focusing on expanding study-abroad programs for students from high schools, community colleges and minority institutions.

While inaugurating the initiative Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that China has established dozens of institutes across the country that offer assistance in Chinese language and its culture to help understand the country better. Therefore, Clinton said that Americans should also develop language and cultural centers that provides in-depth exposure about the U.S in China and elsewhere. This move may increase foreign enrolments in both the countries.

During one of her visits to Howard University, First Lady Michelle Obama said that studying abroad has become important to achieve success in the modern global economy. Michelle also said that today's job markets require individuals to be aware of varied languages and cultures apart from acquiring skills.

"Getting ahead in today's workplaces isn't just about the skills you bring from the classroom. It's also about the experience you have with the world beyond our borders - with people, and languages, and cultures that are very different from our own.

But let's be clear: studying in countries like China is about so much more than just improving your own prospects in the global market

The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you're actually helping to make America stronger," Michelle said in a statement.

A 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange by the Institute of International Education reveals that the number of international students at colleges and universities in the U.S. increased by 6 percent to 764,495 in  the 2011-2012 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased just by 1 percent.

Out of 764,495 foreign students, 194,029 students were from China. Previously it was 157,558 in 2010-11. The numbers represent more for undergraduate programs than for graduate courses.

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